mucus take two

Today I spent forty minutes in the Health Center here at school - only forty, yes, from start to finish. Pittance. Even enjoyable. Did I truly leave so comforted? Even after the flu shot I'd neglected?

What might it look like, to combine all those collective hours waited-out in the waiting-rooms of doctors' offices? Even just one of yours plus mine and we'd look at the results and gasp uncannily to one another, saying, "No shit?"

It isn't that I avoid the doctor's on purpose. I wouldn't even say that I avoid visits at all, but I surely don't seek them out, nor have I ever, ever enjoyed them. Not alone. But this relationship between me and "my health," curious in its necessity and maddening, I can't say to ever have been anything but tense - again, not alone, although acute, peculiar, curioser.

Five or four years old, my body fetal atop a plain metal bench, makeshift cot no-good-for-children, one nurse cooing "Close your eyes, hurt a little," sting in the naked right half of my behind in a stiff c-curve. I cried for lack of lollipop, and because my bandage had nothing to say for itself, all peachy-brown, no Muppets, no Count.

A few years before then I'd be in the hospital for two flat weeks. Lactose intolerance and an unforseen allergy to penicillin - my parents recollected that, at that time, the only response my body gave to food and fluid was vomit, vomit, vomit - kept me there, hugging myself in a little tent with a dehumidifier and, I'm sure, a honey-yellow night light that I'm also sure I coveted. Upon arrival another nurse wiggled the IV needle into the only fat vein visible in my left hand. My response: wait for the nurse to leave, feel the empty space of the room, rip out the chord and let it leak as I run through to the end of the hall through one set of swinging doors. When the nurse caught me, my father told me once, I laughed. She laughed, too.

Seventeen, defensive stance on our side of the pitch. One grabbed arm pulled the wrong way from behind, a sickening twist (the knees are made for bending in certain, very specific, ways), click-click, down on the ground. Curses shitfuck. Fifteen minutes later and the trainer would say some things about your ACL. Three disgusting letters. A month later: hamstring graft, another plain bandage, throwup in one of mom's leftover Pretzel Time bags in the back of her business van - couch, delirium, pain, the Incredible Shrinking You.

Renfrew, and all those sessions in New Directions before (and after) and that fucking feeling of telling your childhood physician "Yes, I starve myself, take laxatives, I even found out about epsom, I'm checking myself into treatment, Philadelphia-will-you-please-pray-for-me, you make me feel so much better." His lament, upheaved smile, downright horror at this admission from this girl he used to pat on the head and laugh with. Renfrew and after Renfrew and so on.

What comes after is always best.


  1. jackie, i adore your point of view.

  2. Jacqueline: one of your best. Really saddens me though!